The onslaught from biters over the next two weeks was relentless.
They came at him in seemingly endless waves day or night. All of his automated outposts had been overrun and destroyed. That was over a week ago. He ran out of copper three days back.
His calls to the corporation had proved useless. Four months. Max didn’t have four months. He wondered if he had four hours.
Steam rolled off the turrets as they continually fired to the point of overheating. He had had to double up on his laser defense wall so that one line could cool down at a time, using his last combinator to control the lines.
He sipped his cold, one-day old coffee, the last bastion of sanity before he spent the remaining parts of his life in base upkeep.
Alarms sounded in the background. A constant tone that had long-since faded into the background. He couldn’t worry about it now, there was no point. Either the wall held or it not, and Max didn’t waste time worry what would happen.
But he wasn’t taking this lying down. He would get to work.
He had sent broadcast after broadcast, hoping to tune into their exact frequency with no luck. He was glad he never had to use that discharge defense back at their base, it would have never worked.
The only thing that had worked was the egg, something Max had tried to capitalize on repeatedly. Standing on the wall, knife to the egg. He knew it was precious to them, had to be the last of the worm eggs was all he could figure for the fervor that drove their hosts into the never-ending barrage of laser shots.
“Well eggy, what should we start on today?” Max had grown attached to the damned egg. It was his lifeline, the only reason he was sitting here today. He would gladly give it back to them in exchange for peace if only he could figure out how to communicate.
He sighed, tapping on the glass that separated him from the slightly toxic atmosphere where he kept the egg.
“I’ll be back for dinner,” he said turning around, “but first I have to stop that damned beeping!”
Getting to his computer he took in the sight. Endless red dots, a hundred times worse than when he had been at their base. He wondered where they kept these nigh-on-endless numbers of fodder. Who was controlling them?
Something caught his eye though. Amidst the sea of attacks, there was another alert, informational.
He scrunched his eyes and tapped on the alert.
The computer had discovered ore, right in the middle of his base.
Well that’s curious. Max had gobbled up all ores within a kilometer in the first 72 hours of him landing. His automated trains ventured out hundreds of kilometers in every direction since then, like a large desert hydra stretching across the world.
So how, just now, did the computer pick up a single spot of copper ore in the middle of his base?
Even more curious, it was just outside his…
Max whirled around and ran out the airlock after donning his suit.
It couldn’t be.
He ran around the side of his small home and stopped in the small garden plot where he had grown some of the native plants. In the middle of them was the egg. He picked up the thing and stared blankly at the ground where it had lain. A single node of copper ore glistened back at him.